Monday 5th January, 2015
In both summer and winter stabling is often a central part of a horse’s daily routine as owners seek to provide shelter for their equine companions. There are many reasons for stabling a horse, including box rest when injured or convalescing, a safe place for a foaling mare or simply secure accommodation away from the heat of summer and the extreme cold in winter.
Stabling is particularly common during the winter months, where harsh frosts result in treacherous turf that could easily damage a horse’s delicate tendons and ligaments, not to mention sub-zero temperatures that even the most quilted outdoor rug wouldn’t combat. When the winter sets in, a good quality stable will also keep your horse out of the elements and provide much needed relief from mud fever for our feathered heavy weight horses, as well as warmth away from the biting north easterly wind.
Regardless of whether your horse is convalescing or simply being stabled regularly due to the weather, it is very important to ensure that his emotional wellbeing is being attending to as well as his physical condition. Horses who are stabled for long periods of time can easily become bored and lonely, especially if their field mates are still being turned out, and so including some stable accessories can help keep boredom at bay.
Horses are incredibly intelligent animals and one way to keep them occupied during long hours in a stall is through stimulating toys such as Decahedron balls. These incredibly durable plastic balls have small holes that enable owners to hide treats such as sliced carrots, pony nuts or cool mix inside. The horse will then smell the treats and use his muzzle and/or hooves to turn the ball, and as it rolls the treats will tip out providing hours of fun for your stabled equine.
Other toys include the Likit Boredom Breaker which incorporates a healthy mineral lick with an attractive, brightly coloured case that hangs from the ceiling. Licking the minerals in itself is quite a challenge and the ever moving Likit toy will keep them entertained while they are alone in the stable.
If you have a horse that is on a special diet and needs to avoid extra treats whilst stabled, why not opt for a Jolly Ball? These brilliant bouncy balls are made from super tough non-toxic plastic and have a handle that is perfect for horses to grab hold of. Proven to reduce stress in horses, these 10” balls will not deflate making them a perfect boredom busting accessory for both the stable and field.
By nature, horses are very social creatures who prefer the safety and security of being part of a herd, so it can be very beneficial if they are stabled next to their field mates whenever possible. The perfect stabling for a close knit herd is an American barn style set up which enables horses to see each other both between the bars of the stables and across the yard. If your horse must be stabled at a time when others are turned out in the field, it is worth choosing a stable overlooking a busy yard so that they do not feel too isolated.